Real Madrid have been fast tracking club legend Zinedine Zidane to the manager's chair for a while now. He's gone from first team assistant to reserve team head coach in just over a year. Thing is, Zidane did not have the right qualifications for the latter position and now faces sanctions. Real Madrid's defense has been to deny he's the manager of the team he very obviously manages.

The whole thing started at the end of last month, when the director of Spain's soccer coach training center lodged a complaint with the FA that Zidane did not have the proper licenses to be Real Madrid Castilla's head coach. It was presumably around this time that Real Madrid came up with their brilliant idea to pretend Zidane wasn't actually the manager. Instead, they claimed that Santiago Sánchez is the real head coach and Zidane is just the assistant.

Forget Madrid's own prior press release stating that Zidane was the manager of Castilla, and forget Zidane's own words claiming he rejected offers to manage in France's first division to manage Castilla, and ignore the Spanish media's apparently erroneous reporting on Zidane's (poor) management of Castilla. Instead, take a look at the club's Castilla page today:

Seems legit to me.

Unfortunately, the Spanish soccer Coaching Committee hasn't been so easily convinced. The Committee promised to monitor the situation and has since conducted an investigation, finding that, indeed, Zidane does lack the proper qualifications and yes, despite the club's protestations, Zidane is the real manager of the team.

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In order to prove what everyone already knew, the investigative report includes video and photos of Zidane behaving in a manner consistent with being the head coach of the team, presumably teaching his players proper roulette techniques and letting them know that yes, they almost certainly will never feature for the first team but hey, the better you play down here the quicker you can get that move to some other La Liga club.

According to Marca, the league's rules allow for a four to 20 match suspension for anyone coaching without proper qualifications. That translates to missing between one to six months-worth of actual matches. This is still the mighty Real Madrid we're dealing with, so odds are strong that the final punishment will end up somewhere close to the lower end, assuming they don't miraculously find that diploma showing Zidane actually did graduate from coaching school before the ruling is handed down.

It's no great loss either way, of course. The future former manager of Real Madrid has only managed to inspire his charges to a 1-3-0 record in the Spanish third tier.

[Marca]